Automatic number plate recognition

What is ANPR?

We use automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology to help detect, deter and disrupt all levels of criminality in Lincolnshire.  This includes tackling travelling criminals, organised crime groups and terrorists. ANPR provides lines of enquiry and evidence in the investigation of crime.  It is used by Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) throughout England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

How does it work?

As a vehicle passes an ANPR camera, it reads the registration number.  It is instantly checked against database records of vehicles of interest.

Police officers can then intercept and stop a vehicle, check it for evidence and, where necessary, make arrests.

It stores a record of all vehicles passing a camera, including those that are not of interest at that time. If appropriate, and with the correct authorisation, we can access the record for investigation purposes.

The use of ANPR in this way has proved to be important in the detection of many offences.  This includes:

  • locating stolen vehicles
  • tackling uninsured vehicle use 
  • solving cases of terrorism and major organised crime

It also allows officers to focus on offending vehicles, allowing law-abiding drivers to continue unhindered.

Retention and access to stored data

ANPR data collected by us is submitted to the National ANPR Data Centre (NADC) where it is stored together with similar data from other forces for a period of one year.

We have clear rules to control access to ANPR data to ensure that access is for legitimate investigation purposes. Members of staff only have access if it is relevant to their role.  The majority of those who have permission may only do so for a period up to 90 days from the date it was collected. Some staff members have additional permissions and can access data for up to 2 years subject to the authorisation of a senior officer.

Searches of ANPR data can confirm whether a vehicle associated with a known criminal has been in the area at the time of a crime.  This can dramatically speed up investigations.

Camera locations

As well as being mounted in police vehicles, ANPR cameras are in locations where they will help to detect, deter and disrupt criminality. In line with national policy, we do not disclose details of our fixed locations.  This is because this information could benefit offenders and if known could reduce the value of ANPR to policing.

National guidelines ensure that if we propose to install ANPR cameras at a particular location then an assessment must be conducted.  This will take into account of the following factors:

  • national security and counter terrorism
  • serious, organised and major crime
  • local crime
  • community confidence and reassurance, and crime prevention and reduction.

Only if the assessment demonstrates a clear need for cameras at that location will the proposal progress. But before new cameras are deployed, a Privacy Impact Assessment is undertaken. We will consult with persons and organisations with a reasonable interest in the proposal unless that would be contrary to the purpose of the development, namely to detect, deter and disrupt criminality.

We are also committed to regularly review the location of our ANPR cameras, in the context of the above criteria, to make sure that the continued deployment remains justified. All reviews will include consideration of the impacts on privacy.

Surveillance camera commissioner ANPR self-assessment 

The surveillance camera commissioner ANPR self-assessment has been completed to show how the force complies with the 12 guiding principles of the surveillance camera code of practice.

More help and support

The Chief Constable is the data controller for the ANPR system operated by Lincolnshire Constabulary.

For further information on the use of ANPR by police forces and other LEAs, please see the National Police Chiefs’ Council website

See more information on data subject rights for ANPR on the website

Related Documents & Further Reading

27 Apr 21 1:48 PM

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